Most of the millions of people who heard Tony Hulman say, "Gentlemen, start your engines," probably were unaware that he had once been a formidable competitor: the nation's top prep school pole vaulter in 1920; the international collegiate high-hurdles champion in London in 1923; an end on Yale's undefeated football team that same year; and a deep-sea fisherman who captained the U.S. tuna team in 1951. In 1952 Hulman accomplished one of big-game fishing's most celebrated feats by landing, in three successive days off Peru, black marlin of 762, 918 and 937 pounds. The last two were the biggest ever caught in the Western Hemisphere up to that time.
Also remarkable was the House that Hulman Built, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which, when he bought it in 1945, was a ramshackle ruin after four years of wartime disuse. In 1946 the Indy 500 drew something like 150,000 spectators and the purse was $115,450. Last spring attendance was more than 300,000 and the purse was $1,116,807. The ruin had become a model, one of the best-run in sport. What a monument it is to the gentleman from Indiana, who died last week at the age of 76.